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Japanese Haiku Poetry

(See haiku contest rules at the end of this post. Please share your haiku even if you don’t want to be part of the contest.)

The most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan was Matsuo Bashou. He lived and died in the 17th century from 1644-1694. Matsuo was a master of haiku with its 5-7-5 syllables written in three lines. The first and third lines contain a total of five syllables with the longer second line containing 7 syllables. Many of his haiku poems had a nature theme. Here are two of Matsuo’s well-known haiku which have been translated into English. For fans around the world, the internet is a shared treasure box of his work .

An old silent pond…
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.

-Matsuo Bashou

In the twilight rain
these brilliant-hued hibiscus –
A lovely sunset

-Matsuo Bashou

I am not a master poet or even a poet,  but I love to read and write haiku. It is part of the Japanese culture I appreciate. One particular group of Japanese friends came to visit us in the USA. They wanted to see Yosemite so we drove them there. They were thrilled with the breathtaking scenery and majesty of it all. On the drive home I asked the women to create Japanese haiku together. That activity became a special bond between us.

I write haiku in English because its fun and relaxing. I’ve encouraged my grandkids to explore it, too. They went to visit a beautiful Japanese garden and wrote haiku about their experience. An interesting fact came out…’Koi’ (carp) in English is one syllable, but ‘koi’ pronounced in Japanese is two syllables. It was a fun time working on haiku together.

Here are two I have written as I sat in my backyard garden.

Frog sits quietly
Waiting for a bug to come
He gives up and croaks.

-Karol Whaley

In-flight hummingbirds
Drive away their enemies
Small, but powerful.

-Karol Whaley

You might be wondering what this has to do with the Sky Blue Trilogy. I’m happy to report that each book in the trilogy has two haiku – one to begin the book – and one to end it. Hope Eiko’s haiku will touch your heart.

To God be the Glory!

Contest Rules: Signed Copy of Sky Blue Giveaway – The first two readers of my blog who submit their own haiku in the comment section of this post and enlist 5 of their friends/acquaintances to leave comment on this post in regards to their haiku, I will give a free signed copy of Sky Blue upon its release.

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  1. Bill Whaley Bill Whaley

    Karol-chan, as always so well written and informative. Thank you so much.

  2. Joy E Sprankle Joy E Sprankle

    Trying out this haiku thing…

    Pen put to paper
    Stories of God’s love for all
    Sky Blue Trilogy.


  3. Bill Whaley Bill Whaley

    A dragonfly finally alights
    atop a cattail.
    Swaying casually in the gentle breeze.

    • Joy E Sprankle Joy E Sprankle


  4. Jeffery Frieden Jeffery Frieden

    Palm’s staggering sway
    Sweet waft of cool ocean air;
    A lover’s kiss.

  5. Alysse whaley Alysse whaley

    Yay for haiku!

    Bright in the darkness
    Made to spread joy all around
    Gods glorious light

  6. Amanda Amanda

    Ice cream in my bowl
    Cookies crumbled on the top
    Tastes like happiness

  7. R. Frank Gillum R. Frank Gillum

    See my comment at Upper Room, 5/6/17. Haiku below:

    When crested titmouse
    Meets black-capped, rust-rumped catbird
    Will cat and mouse play?

    A tree swallow dives
    On blue birds on their nest box.
    Two better than one.

  8. John neale John neale

    Darkness evolves to day
    Words encircle this moment
    Mind becomes purpose

  9. Cherrol Allan Cherrol Allan

    The old fallen oak
    Lets go it’s upright struggle
    Spawns a universe.

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